SafeBoda is revolutionizing safe transportation, payments and on-demand services in Africa’s cities. SafeBoda believes that everyone in African cities should have access to affordable and safe services at a click of a button. Based in Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, they are a venture funded company that is already having huge impact for millions in Africa.
In Uganda, there are roughly 100,000 motorbike taxi drivers in Kampala, Uganda, making them one of the most common forms of transport. SafeBoda is working to reduce injuries and deaths by creating a network of SafeBoda boda (motorbike) drivers. They have two key safety interventions. First, they give boda drivers safety equipment, including a reflector jacket to make them easier to see and two helmets – one for the driver, one for a passenger. Second, they give boda drivers road-safety training in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Ugandan Red Cross, among others.
GIF was a co-funder of SafeBoda’s seed round and was instrumental in getting the start-up running. GIF funding was used to cover 37 percent of SafeBoda’s costs between 2016 and 2017 including equipment costs for new drivers (helmets, reflectors) and operating expenses such as legal fees and marketing.
To date, there are over 15,000 SafeBoda drivers in Uganda and over 1 million downloads of the SafeBoda app. A peer-reviewed study conducted between 2017 and 2018 by Muni et al. (2018) found that SafeBoda drivers were 39 percent less likely to be involved in a road traffic crash than non-SafeBoda motorbike drivers. We estimate that 160 deaths and 190 serious injuries were prevented between 2016 and 2020 due to SafeBoda’s innovation. Anecdotal evidence also suggests SafeBoda ranks highly with female users for time saving, security, and safety, this is supported by Social Development Direct.
GIF provided a $230,000 convertible note to SafeBoda in 2016. The 2015 discounted value of GIF’s investment is $209,100. To estimate the social value created by SafeBoda due to reducing the number of fatal motorbike accidents, the GIF methodology uses the estimate of the value of a statistical life for Uganda, which is commonly used in cost-benefit analyses. The VSL represents the economic value that individuals are willing to pay to reduce the risk of death. During the period of GIF’s investment (2016-2020), SafeBoda generated an estimated $13 million in discounted net social benefits. Accounting for the fact that other investors also invested in SafeBoda, an estimated $2 million in discounted net social benefits was generated by GIF’s investment. GIF’s investment in SafeBoda returned over $9.80 in net social benefits per dollar invested by GIF – taking into account the financial contributions of other funders. Arguably, however, it was the GIF-funded seed round that supported SafeBoda’s ability to grow to attract the subsequent funders.
 Kennedy Muni, Olive Kobusingye, Charlie Mock, James P. Hughes, Philip M. Hurvitz & Brandon Guthrie (2019) Motorcycle taxi programme is associated with reduced risk of road traffic crash among motorcycle taxi drivers in Kampala, Uganda, International Journal of Injury Control and Safety Promotion, 26:3, 294-301, DOI: 10.1080/17457300.2019.1594952